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Braves close to deal for Teixeira
Atlanta expected to send Salty and three other players for 1B and reliever

ATLANTA - The last time the Braves made a midseason splash like this, it carried them deep into the playoffs. It was July 1993, and their new marquee slugger was Fred McGriff.

Now, it's Mark Teixeira. And Atlanta can only hope for similar results.

The Braves were the talk of baseball Monday after agreeing to a long-rumored deal to acquire the switch-hitting Teixeira from the Texas Rangers. Atlanta also will receive veteran left-handed reliever Ron Mahay in the trade, which will become official as soon as medical reviews of the players involved are completed.

And there could be other moves before today's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. The Braves were talking to the Kansas City Royals Monday about reliever Octavio Dotel, and were also talking to the Cincinnati Reds about starter Bronson Arroyo, according to published reports.

General manager John Schuerholz was unavailable for comment. But a source with direct knowledge of the Teixeira trade confirmed that both teams have given it the green light.

The Braves will send the Rangers four of their best young talents: catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Class A shortstop Elvis Andrus, 19-year-old pitching prospect Neftali Feliz and a player to be named later - probably Class AA pitcher Matt Harrison.

It is no small price to pay for an organization that prides itself in its farm system. But the Braves are still stocked with young talent at the major-league level, and now have the extra pieces that could alter the balance of power in the National League East.

At 55-51, Atlanta is 41⁄2 games out of first place entering today's game against the Houston Astros at Turner Field.

"It's always a shot in the arm when you know the front office has got your back," third baseman Chipper Jones said last weekend, discussing the Teixeira trade talks. "They care about us continuing on in this playoff chase."

In Teixeira, the Braves are getting the best player available on this year's midseason trade market. The 27-year-old former Georgia Tech star has been a consistent 30-home run, 100-RBI slugger the last three seasons. He is hitting .297 with 13 homers and 49 RBI this year.

"It makes us deeper," Jones said. "You talk about throwing him into the four or five hole, it means (Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur) are down. That makes us pretty formidable one through eight - as formidable as anybody."

Teixeira is making $9 million this season and will be eligible for salary arbitration this winter. He is signed through 2008, and with agent Scott Boras representing him, Teixeira could prove costly to keep around long-term.

But Atlanta could well end up making the investment, especially if Andruw Jones signs elsewhere this winter.

And Teixeira's former coach, longtime Tech baseball coach Danny Hall, said Teixeira has always been enthusiastic about the idea of one day playing in Atlanta. His wife is a fellow Georgia Tech grad - she's even named Georgia. And the couple has talked about living in Atlanta after Teixeira's career is over, according to Hall.

"This is a big thing for the Teixeira family," Hall said. "I talked to him about a month ago, when the rumors were flying around. And he said, 'Coach, you know, I'd love to come to Atlanta.' He wanted to go somewhere where he had a chance to win every night."

Teixeira fills a position of need for the Braves, whose first basemen have combined to hit a major-league-low .211 this season.

So does Mahay, who will be the team's only left-handed reliever, barring any surprise additional moves Tuesday. Mahay has a 2.77 ERA in 39 innings this year.

SideBar: Astros at Braves

' When: Today-Thursday

' Where: Turner Field

' Schedule:

Today, 7:35 p.m. (SS)

Wednesday, 7:35 p.m. (FSN)

Thursday, 7:35 p.m. (TBS)